But the one element a leading black actress must possess to be influential on screen is: Strength. Although some feel this character trait isn’t fair to black actresses who’s characters often times aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, it’s absolutely vital if you want to join the exclusive club of top black leading ladies.
Many say black females are the last chosen in society when it comes to relationships. However, as Hollywood becomes more diverse and inclusive, there are more black actresses seen on the big and small screen than ever imaginable. Even when putting together this list it was difficult because of the numerous beauties that could have easily been chosen. In fact, it seems much easier to be a leading black actress these days than it is to be a leading black man. Nonetheless, here are our list of the Next Generation of Top Black Leading Ladies.
Zoe Saldana is the definition of a Femme Fatale archetype. Just give this fierce girl a gun and she can handle her own. I first became aware of her amazing talent when she stared alongside Nick Cannon in the cult classic “Drumline”. Starting her career out as a dancer, she quickly rose to big budget roles such as “Star Trek”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avatar”. On track as the sequel girl, her incredible acting chops can’t be denied even when behind blue and green mask.
Kerry Washington has been a force in the industry going on over a decade now, playing memorable roles on the big and small screen such as Olivia Pope in “Scandal” and Broomhilda in “Django Unchained”. She’s also had her fair share of big budget studio films such as “Cars 3”, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Fantastic Four”. But I have to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Washington’s starting out. That is until I saw her in “I Think I Love My Wife” playing opposite Chris Rock as the sexy Nikki who gave Rock’s married character a faithful run for his money. What she did in that role changed my perception of her ever since. Turns out playing the side chick was a very suitable role for her as she was cast as the side chick to the POTUS in “Scandal”. But this is understandable considering how hot she is.
Taraji P. Henson
It seems it took time for Taraji P. Henson to truly blossom into her career as an actress. But after “Hustle and Flow”, the roles opened up as the world finally got a glimpse of her talent. Especially in roles such as “Empire”, “Benjamin Button”, “Hidden Figures” and “I Can Do Bad All by Myself”. I personally got to see her energy and charisma first hand at the 2015 American Black Film Festival in New York as she appeared as the Celebrity Ambassador. She electrified the room with her beauty and humor and I easily realize why she is where she is. She has also grown such a strong female fan base that her foothold within the industry is now solidified as she’ll be sticking around for years to come.
Zoë Kravitz is a rising star who has already made inroads within the industry. Daughter to famous musician Lenny Kravitz and veteran actress Lisa Bonet, who are rock stars in their own right, she possesses a bad girl punk vibe that has afforded her opportunities in more edgy roles. Roles in such films as “X-Men: First Class”, “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Divergent”. It has been recently announced that she will star as Catwoman in the new upcoming Batman film. Some will argue her Eurocentric features will give her more opportunities in Hollywood than darker skin actresses, but her sex appeal and acting chops will be what allows her to stay and make waves in the future.
And finally on our list of the Next Generation of Top Black Leading Ladies is Zazie Beetz. Seems like this newcomer came out of nowhere within a short amount of time and has made tremendous impact within Hollywood. This beautiful actress has a girl next door vibe and is starting to get meatier roles in projects such as “Deadpool”, “Atlanta” and the megahit “Joker”. She says so much without words and can convey a range of emotions within the frame of just a look. So be sure we will be keeping an eye on this talent in the future to come.
So there you have it. What did you think of our list? Any names you would have added? Let us know in the comments below.